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SCI/TECH: Northrop Grumman to build $1bn unmanned fighter

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posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 07:05 PM
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Northrop Grumman received more than $1bn in funding to build a prototype unmanned fighter aircraft. Over the next five years Theyre also going to be building at least three full-scale flight prototypes for the US Defence (Darpa)
 



BBC NEWS
Boeing is already developing another drone called the X-45C under the same operational assessment phase of the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) demonstration programme, led by Darpa.

J-UCAS aims to find a stealthy, unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) with integrated sensors, navigation and communications that can operate in the network-centric battlefield of tomorrow.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


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Northrop Grumman

$1bn for a unmanned fighter project never knew these things cost so much to kick off the ground I suppose if this unmanned plane is going to help save lives of air men it's a good thing but I cant help thinking there so much more room for error if it unmanned.




posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 08:53 PM
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yes,room for more plausible excuses too.they may be spending 1bn on r&d but in the end the manufacturing contracts will go to the lowest bidder.it'll just end up another million dollar missile.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 09:39 PM
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I knew it was only a matter of time before UCAVs are made for Air to Air combat. These things are going to smoke manned craft in the future and their going to cost less at the same time.

The Last human fighter pilot has most likely already been born.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 11:47 PM
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This should have been done at least a decade ago.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 12:33 AM
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There have been unmanned aircraft in the past.. some of them were shot at/down over Iraq before the war.

I don't know much more than that, I only remember reading that in the news.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 02:15 AM
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Well spent money! Gosh, I don't think I can think of anything better to spend a BILLION DOLLARS on?



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 09:41 AM
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Is the development of Nintendo style killing machines the technological path we should be taking? For all its complaints about WMDs in the hands of others, the US is the leader in the development and use of WMDs. This is just another step in that direction. Rather hypocritical, wouldn't you say? But then, the hypocrite is blind to his true nature. Of course, this will motivate others to act defen sively and develop their own distance Nintendo style unmanned killing machines. Folks, these machines will unequivocably NOT serve your interests. They will serve those who control the joystick. Perhaps the movie "Terminator" was prescient after all.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 09:56 AM
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This is relatively cheap actually.

The $1B will be spent on the project to develop the fighters as well as the actual three prototype units, if anything this is exceptionally cheaps. Which leads me to believe that this has been on the cards for a while and the technocrats are looking for a way to put it into the public spotlight.

The Cost-Per-Unit (CPU) will probably be around $50m.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by dubiousone
Is the development of Nintendo style killing machines the technological path we should be taking?


There has been talk of putting remote-controlled machine guns along the Israeli wall, I don't see how it could get much worse than that.

For the enemies of the US, this is very bad. For the US, it means we don't have to train so many pilots anymore. We'll probably save money, if anything, in the long run.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 04:21 PM
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This is not 1 billion for plane, this is 1 billion for WHOLE UCAV program for air-force and Navy. It is something like R&D for F-22 or JSF but it's actually much much cheaper (those programs costed tens billions $.)

Pentagon will choose between x-45 (boeing) and x-47 (Northop).
The actuall UCAV plane should be relatively cheap (10-20 mil.$ apiece), subsonic, stealthy and with range of 2000+km and carry payload around 2000 kg. Generally it should replace F-117 and on some dangerous missions also tactical attack aircrfats like F-15E, F-16, F-111 etc.



posted on Aug, 25 2004 @ 07:35 PM
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Originally posted by dubiousone
Is the development of Nintendo style killing machines the technological path we should be taking? For all its complaints about WMDs in the hands of others, the US is the leader in the development and use of WMDs. This is just another step in that direction. Rather hypocritical, wouldn't you say?


Absolutely, especially when you consider the fact that the WMD's that we were supposed to find in Iraq were sold to them by the U.S. in the first place.



posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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DubiousOne,

>>
Is the development of Nintendo style killing machines the technological path we should be taking?
>>

Yes, because anything we can do to demystify and render pointless man as an 'elite warrior' will make our nationalist love for all things war a little more pointless for the very reason you state: 'After all, the Japanese build great cars too!'. That said, most fighter sorties are flown 90% like an airliner (autopilot precision navigation, wings level, purely as a sensor and carriage bus platform) and in those instances when 'pilot ***t' -is- required, it can usually be traced to the simple certainty of his presence and desire for extreme performance (cockpit, gaping inlets, large empennage, big A2A radar) having compromised his ability to remain undetected and thus unshot at. In ALL the rest of the 'lets bomb helpless civillians with handweapons' engagement conditions; you are looking at the electronics of a targeting pod and an LGB or IAM 'winning the fight' _anyway_. Right now. Today.

>>
For all its complaints about WMDs in the hands of others, the US is the leader in the development and use of WMDs. This is just another step in that direction.
>>

This is not Fahrenheit 451. The U.S. will NOT start wars with radiologics of any kind because the backlash (environmentally if nothing else) would be too great against us. Foolishly or otherwise, we are eliminating our ability to strike with chemical and bio inventories as an alternative. And that is what _Weapons Of Mass Destruction_ means. Given we are utterly dependent on slave labour from the foreign states most likely to develop atomics of their own in the next 100 years (if only to fend off the likes of China); I find your argument specious.

>>
Rather hypocritical, wouldn't you say? But then, the hypocrite is blind to his true nature. Of course, this will motivate others to act defen sively and develop their own distance Nintendo style unmanned killing machines. Folks, these machines will unequivocably NOT serve your interests. They will serve those who control the joystick. Perhaps the movie "Terminator" was prescient after all.
>>

Don't be stupid. The NINE THOUSAND MILE water barrier that separates the U.S. from the ROW is what protects us from 'conventional' (mechanized, technologic) attack. And that won't change for a subsonic cruise aircraft whether you have a pilot in it or not. We already have supersonic unmanned aircraft, they're called ICBM MIRVs.

What WILL change is the dead certainty that by 2015 we will have multiple fieldings of 100KW directed energy weapons which can flash vaporize an aircraft up to 30-40km away, in just a few seconds of illumination. At least a /few/ nations will also have 1-2MW class weapons in fixed installations (using UAV 'relays' that are little more than weather balloons with mirrors dangling underneath) or airborne platforms (YABL-1) to reach out to upwards of 400km.

Thus, when we go into someone else's backyard to make trouble (as we always do in our 'defensive' wars), it won't be a case of laughing as we cruise above the trashfire floor. It will be choosing between 'flying over every farmer with a Martini-Henry rifle' down in the weeds where there is a short horizon to protect us. And being visible for a hundred miles in all directions at 50,000ft. To the odd semitractor-sized MTHEL or NAUTILUS type DEW that we 'just happen to fly sufficiently close to' to cue it's passive optics and acoustics into track.

At that point, it won't be about the team bloodsport nationalism of civillians 'wanting to be' worthless sky knights. And so sponsoring them to ever more expensive generations of do-everything airframes. It will instead be purely about the MONEY AND TIME required to replace that platform on a near random basis of encounter with these deadly threats.

UCAVs are the only way forward to maintain the potential of airpower to completely change the dynamic 'lookin, reachin, disrupt the rear area command and logistics' elements of warfare.

While at the same time being 'riskable' in situations where you will only find the enemy IADS by impaling yourself on his beam-of-light, 2,000 dollar per shot, killing mechanism.

The sadness is that the U.S. is failing as an economic power. We are already about 6th or 7th on the list of industrial output nations. And we are rapidly urbanizing our precious farmland such that even Brazil has more earth under the till (270 vs. 420 million acres). What this means is that, as nations and 'coalitions' of federated states become more powerful, under the WTO rules for 'fair trade means butchering the big states subsidy dominance' we will no longer be able to command access to the cheapest-rate materials and our consumerist hunger will no longer sustain trade due to the monumental increases in the price of 'getting it here' inherent to rising crude prices among other things.

As such, TODAY is the time we need to worry about. Because our choices TODAY (and all our foolish expenditures on the 257 BILLION dollar F-35 in particular) is what will probably determine whether we have the money to develop and purchase ONE tactical aircraft, tomorrow.

We will not be able to afford the F-18E/F, the F-22, the F-35 and the JUCAS. It can only be 2 or at most 3 of those programas. And given that the soonest we will field /any/ of them is 2012. There is simply no reason to make one of those choices anytying but unmanned.

Because Star Wars is HERE. And we have no deflector shields.


KPl.


Se7en,

>>
$1bn for a unmanned fighter project never knew these things cost so much to kick off the ground I suppose if this unmanned plane is going to help save lives of air men it's a good thing but I can?t help thinking there so much more room for error if it unmanned.
>>

The nature of something going 'horribly wrong' is inherent to what is called Friction and Uncertainty principles in military science. Too many things going on in too small an area, too quickly, to separate out all the spatial and causal relationships before the 'fleeting window' of engagement on time critical targets is gone.

In this, the UCAV supplies another overwhelming advantage in the the specification for the Joint Uninhabited Combat Air System is to be able to fly out to 1,100nm, tortoise-sit on station for 2hrs and come home. Without refueling and with only HALF the 20,000lbs of internal gas that is wasted on the 'must go faster!' JSF rabbit.

Why is it wasted? Because if you are leading a squad of infantry down some dark alley, you WILL NOT see the enemy moving into position to kill you, two blocks over. You WILL NOT see the knee mortar rounds or the RPG lofts from perhaps as much as 10 blocks away. Or the small IED device that they've left in a doorway with intent to blow the building down as you pass by. Both due to line of sight problems and due to the fact that the prep work may well have occured /hours/ if not /days/ in advance of some dumb U.S. batallion commander 'getting the word' that he should go investigate X.

But a UCAV can be overhead (flying as little as 60-100nm from an intra-theater airbase) for 6-10hrs beforehand. And it's downlook oriented FLIR and highdefinition micro-SAR radar can image people and shapes early enough to relay a 'big picture alert' to that squad leader for "Do you want me to kill them?!" optioning BEFORE they start to shoot.

This is something which no manned jet can do because the pilot-gotta-pee interval is so short without deadly fatigue setting in and the roughly 5,000 dollar per flight hour (F-16) operating costs are TRIPLE (UCAV = 1,200$:flthr) what is necessary to cover, not just one patrol but ten or twenty at a time.

With the power of microwave based datalinks in the 'CDL' or common datalink architecture of a 240mpbs throughput system. As well as directional receivers and complex coded command algorithms, we can securely put a 250lb small smart bomb within about 9.8 inches (EDGE assisted GPS) of a selected target aimpoint within 20 seconds of called fires. IF the plane is there to do so. And /vastly/ 'closer in' that even an A-10 (75m limit for gunfire) can achieve on a forces in contact basis

And we can ONLY do this if there is NO man sitting in the cockpit.

Such may sound 'unfun' but war is not a sport. It is not something to admire. Nor is it wise to to admire those who participate in it. While the notion of an enemy assymetrically (contempt of engagement) attacking our soldiers _on the ground_ before running away is such that, again, ONLY by adopting a stance that is equally cold and detached can we assure that an insurgent threat is still too frightened of us to 'get a kick' out of counting coup from /their/ perspective of freebee assassination.

WWII was the last nationalistic gasp of the only true functional purpose of war. To amalgamate societal and strategic resources and control geopolitical chokepoints of trade. When we determined that a would be conqueror could be held accountable for 'crimes against humanity' inherent to engaging in such aggressive acts, we replaced the competition of man for national means of profit and security with the use of 'corporate raiding' to control those same resources via purely commercial ruleset.

As such, ALL combat operations must now be looked at as 'policing' events in which the notional function of the warrior is to constrain the act of fighting in pursuit of 'prosperity for all'.

That cannot happen if we continue the LOMD principle of seeing these killers and their mounts as an extension of personal combat. Because, just like a cop in a patrol car, it's not the one you see that makes the system work. It is the 10-20-100 others patrolling /other/ blocks of real estate that pose the real intimidative threat.

Again, manned airframes (ground vehicles, ships and subs) simply cannot generate the kinds of numbers needed to provide this security. This mechanical inhibition against dying in a fight against a silicon chip. Only robots can make the act of struggle so cheap that we finally begin to measure the limits of our lives (20 years to raise up) against the hours it takes to manufacture a purely mechanical force.

At that point, we will FEAR war too much to engage in it for entertainment purposes.

People fear robots, not because of the danger they pose. But because they will force us to cease 'playing' at this juvenile endeavor we call war as a Darwinistic activity which we are so radically inept and undeserving as biologic creatures to participate in.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 05:16 PM
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>>
Is the development of Nintendo style killing machines the technological path we should be taking?
>>


To quote the venerable Oliver Hardey, "It CERtainly is!" After all ... we all have read about the small electromagnetic airburst weapons that will disrupt all electrical activity such as our electrical grids and satellites. An antielectrical clusterbomb-like airburst weapon will make the good ol' US an agrarian society in seconds. Remember the society of "Dark Angel"? Look for it; its coming.

unclecasey




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